When I saw the house,
it filled with seawater in my head.
Maybe a crab scuttled
across the carpet
or a small fish zipped
from card room to kitchen,
crossing by a flounder.
With the tide collapsing, finally,
the rooms evaporated back
sea-soaked and mildewy:
a cubby with vinyls stuck together,
a swarm of loose playing cards
and yellowed photos of a daughter
in the band,
warped cassette tapes and bloated
a rusted-over electric saw,
gritty stuffed teddies,
an old handgun,
clammy and blue.
And a trumpet, salty.
The family had stayed inland and
a brother of the owner dropped by
while we excavated, digging through
certificates and diplomas and medals.
"Oh-my-God, they kept everything,"
he said, squinting toward the ocean.
It was sea bottom all right
a part of the Gulf, which linked around
to Madagascar and the blue, blue caves
swamps and archipelagos,
influenced by a moon
out of kilter.